Chapter 1: Still Alive

  • I only own the ideas for the story. The Inheritance Cycle characters, names, places, etc. belong to Christopher Paolini, etc. The Inheritance Cycle, All Rights Reserved*

Dust, stone, and the remains of Galbatorix's castle were spread all over the land like the aftermath of a rock avalanche. Eragon, Saphira, Arya, Murtagh, Thorn, and everyone else who had escaped the conflict with Galbatorix and Shruikan were now going around helping to aid the wounded.

"I can't believe it's over. Over thousands of years and Galbatorix is finally defeated!" Eragon said quietly as he went to heal a soldier with a broken leg.

'Yes. But now we must focus on what to do once all the injured are healed,' Saphira reminded him. It took several hours until those who had been injured in battle were taken care of. In that time, Murtagh and Thorn just looked at everyone with blank faces. They knew that finding a way to redeem their actions and lives as enemies would not be easy.

"It won't be minor to confine everyone that we are now good, Thorn. We have a tough road ahead of us," Murtagh mumbled as he kept walking.

'At least we are no longer bound to the King. Whatever we decide today, tomorrow, and for the future will be our decision, and ours alone,' Thorn replied to his Rider, trying to give him a sense of hope.

"Still, we will have to make up for our wrongdoings. But you're right; our choices are now our own and not forced," Murtagh replied in agreement. Once everyone was done with their duties, Eragon, and the other head leaders of the Varden gathered for a meeting. Even Murtagh and Thorn were included.

"Do you two know where any of the remaining Heart-of-Hearts are?" Nasuada asked the Rider and red dragon.

"Yes. But the real question would be if anything survived Galbatorix's blast. The castle was almost completely blown to pieces. It would be a miracle if anything survived," Murtagh answered. It was then that the group looked around for any sign of anything important. While they looked, a soldier called over to them several miles away. Everyone ran over and couldn't believe their eyes.

Dragon eggs, Heart-of-Hearts, more weapons and some scrolls were in the location where the soldier stood. It was like a goldmine of treasures, and like Murtagh said; a miracle it all survived unharmed. This was great news. Soon, even more dragon eggs and Heart-of-Hearts were found too. Perhaps there was still hope.

Suddenly, Murtagh turned towards the main area of the destroyed castle; directly behind everyone. He thought he could sense magic. A strong sense of magic. Magic just as powerful as Galbatorix. In that same moment, both Thorn and Saphira turn towards where Murtagh was facing and roared. The two dragons bared their teeth, roared. Fire glowed in Thorns mouth, ready to be released at any moment. The dragon's necks were also pulled back with their heads glaring at an enormous pile of stones. The dragons now looked like two big snakes ready to strike.

"No. There's no way he could... That's impossible!" Murtagh said, his face and voice displaying horror and concern.

"Murtagh, what is it?" Nasuada asked before a roar from Thorn interrupted her.

'That beast should be gone! He should be dead! How can this be?!' Thorn shouted in his thoughts.

'What the heck? How is this...?' Saphira started to say in thought until she glared at both Murtagh and Thorn in angry and seriousness.

'If this is a trick from you two, I will personally barbecue you!' Saphira snapped, showing her teeth. It was not a question from the blue dragon, but a threat.

"We aren't doing this Saphira! Honest!" Murtagh reassured her in a voice filled with shock, horror, seriousness, and confusion. Saphira sensed Murtagh's energy and emotional tone, and could tell he was not lying, nor was Thorn. Something was very wrong.

'Saphira! What's wrong?' Eragon asked using his mind. Saphira roared, and then growled before answering.

'HE is back!' the female dragon stated in fear. Suddenly, everyone was about to get their answer.

The pile of building sized rocks shifted and moved. The stones on top rolled downwards as the pile rose. Rocks rolled like a mini avalanche in the side of a mountain. Soon, black scales could be seen from under the rocks and dirt. Within minutes, wings with bat-like membranes stretched outwards like huge tarps in the wind. The rocks stopped falling, and a dragon the size of a mountain stood in front of everyone. It was Shruikan.

The massive black dragon still had the green Dauthdaert spear, Niernen still stuck in his eye, which was hard to see from the black eyelid covering the injured area. Shruikan slowly stood up to full size on his four legs, then using his voice in thought, uttered three words.

'E-Eragon... H-Help... Me...'

Shruikan then closed his eyes, let his legs drop, and the black, massive dragon collapse from exhaustion. The force of Shruikan's fall shook the ground like an earthquake, and then after the rumbling, there was silence.

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